Peeples Valley/Yarnell Vision Statement

At a  July 26 Community Meeting, Supervisor Harry Oberg asked that the residents of Yarnell and Peeples Valley create a Vision Statement to be included in the county Comprehensive Plan for the next 10 years. A 10-member Vision 2032 Task Force was created with residents from both communities. They collaborated to write the Vision Statement below using input from the notices in the Yellow Sheet and on various social media.
So – how did we do?  Below is the Vision Statement the Task Force wrote.  Please send comments and additions to infoonthehill@gmail.com by Saturday, September 17.  This will give us time to meet again and update the Vision Statement for the county’s October deadline. 
SURVEY!  Yavapai County’s Comprehensive Plan 2032 is based on responses to surveys.  Those surveys are found online AND NOW AS PAPER VERSIONS at the library.  These surveys will be sent to the County for inclusion in the county Comprehensive Plan 2032.  PLEASE COMPLETE THESE AND RETURN TO THE LIBRARY by SEP. 15.
We know you have good ideas!  Make yourself heard by both giving us your input on the Vision Statement and by filling out the surveys!  Send comments to infoonthehill@gmail.com.
 
Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan 2032
 Peeples Valley/Yarnell Vision Statement

 

As community members of Yarnell and Peeples Valley our vision is to improve the socio-economic conditions of current and future constituents and to preserve the charm and character of our homes and our area.
Ours is a small, quiet, friendly rural area with roots in mining, ranching and retirement/vacation retreats.  While predominantly an elderly/retired community we also have a small percentage of younger people with families.  We are a close-knit community of neighbors who help neighbors with a strong spirit of volunteerism.  We are proud of the volunteer efforts which maintain the infrastructure and strengthen the institutions of our unincorporated community:  water, schools, fire and medical first responders, library, community center, food bank,  garden, and churches.  We value open space, dark skies, and a quiet, safe, and peaceful environment.  We value our natural resources, wildlife, and flora and enjoy outdoor activities.  This community connects and enhances meaningful relationships through a variety of organized social events.

 

I. Many of us came here because of the OPEN SPACE.  It is an important aspect of the area’s character, ecosystem health and a draw for businesses, workers and visitors. Collaborating with owners of large tracts of land to establish rights-of-way for hiking, biking and horseback riding enhance our open space.  A larger park with a small fishing lake suggested by Game and Fish could be a great asset to the area.

 

II. Dark sky and air quality are a priority for QUALITY OF LIFE.  We encourage the county to continue enforcing dark sky ordinances.  Our superior air quality should be protected and maintained.  We encourage renewable energy innovation which preserves our scenery and air quality.  We wish to empower all community members to make smarter energy choices through education and incentives.  Another aspect of quality of life is quiet.  As a community we would like the county to help us oppose the new Luke Air Force extended hours, lower flight plan which includes strategic air/ground fire practice. Sonic booms rattle homes and are unsettling for many in our community.

 

III. WATER is our most precious resource.  We are concerned with the Model Creek Basin Aquifer water table drop of 23 feet in the last 50 years.  Keep control of our water local – protect resources from corporate, out-of-state take overs. We are concerned about the recent purchase of Peeples Valley Water by an out of state company.  The county’s protection of our water supply should be a top priority.  We look forward to growth which doesn’t threaten our water supply.  We are committed to growth being limited to what the water supply can sustain for the residential and agricultural base.  This is the fundamental deal breaker for both of our communities.   We recommend that the county establish this as policy (and/or support legislation to this effect if required) so that any developments, whether they are planned within current water company jurisdiction or outside of it, must have independent, professional water supply studies completed before rezoning requests and/or construction permits are issued.  Don’t allow over development which will strain the water supply.

 

IV. Yarnell/Peeples Valley needs support for DEVELOPMENT to revitalize, redevelop, provide appropriate infill and to include historic preservation where appropriate.  There are still many open lots for individual homes.  This is good for the future of the area, but no more open range lands should be turned into private residence or commercial areas.  We do need growth, but in a constructive way that makes us a more vibrant community, limited to what the water supply can sustain, and without the accompanying challenges of excessive traffic, noise, pollution, and crime.  We favor establishing goals and policies in support of the principles of reduced sprawl while allowing for developments to occur under existing zoning and land entitlements. The County should establish and implement a variety of aggressive communication efforts to alert residents of potential developments and/or rezoning requests in the region from beginning to end.  These communication strategies for Planning and Zoning and Community Development should include, at a minimum:  1. longer notification/posting requirements.  2. Expanded posting on local bulletin boards at public places such as the library, post office, neighborhood bulletin boards, and community center.  3. Notification via local digital networks (Facebook, Yarnell Nextdoor, Peeples Valley Nextdoor, and independent email networks.)  In addition to expanding the communication channels in rural areas, we urge the County to support limited development through the following:  1. Streamlining the permitting process for both residential and commercial properties to attract new residents and businesses.  2. Providing for a combination of incentives and penalties to property owners of vacant buildings which contribute to an atmosphere of blight.  3. Researching best practices in other similar sized communities in our state and in other states to identify practical and innovative building materials, flexible and appropriate permitting requirements, and solutions for speeding up the permitting processes.  4.  Allowing on street parking to count toward parking requirements for businesses.  5. Consolidating/coordinating the requirements so that potential homebuilders and business owners are not shuffled from one department/agency to another (i.e., County, ADOT and other state agencies) as they try to become neighbors and part of a thriving local economy.   Please work hard to make this process as easy as possible!

 

V. One of the realities of rural life is the need to travel for some ESSENTIAL SERVICES, including shopping, medical, and other professional services.  We are accustomed to driving to Prescott or Wickenburg for many of these things, but we envision increased availability locally as we plan a stronger community.  We need local medical services whether telemedicine, a provider in town one or two days per week, or at minimum reliable transportation for those who can’t easily travel. Home care services, wellness checks and home safety evaluations, a senior daycare facility and programs, and assistance with prescription delivery or by mail are essential as well. Transportation options for non-medical needs like grocery shopping are needed by many residents.  Our area is a food desert.  We have a mini-market and Dollar General, neither of which are good sources of nutritious food.  Though a full-service grocery store may be too much to ask for this area, we’d benefit from accelerated opening of the planned store near Wickenburg Ranch.

 

VI. We seek to collaborate with ADOT to create and implement TRAFFIC ROUTE improvements.  State Route 89, “Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Highway”, is the main highway connecting Wickenburg to Peeples Valley as well as to Prescott to Northern Arizona.  As a busy artery, SR 89 provides economic opportunities, however, SR 89’s configuration is fraught with logistic and safety issues as follows:  excessive vehicular speed when passing through downtown Yarnell and Peeples Valley, no pedestrian crosswalks and limited sidewalks.  These issues are a public safety risk for pedestrians. The current configuration of SR 89 poses perilous conditions for residents and visitors needing to cross SR 89 in order to access basic needs.  Of particular concern are those in wheelchairs and parents pushing children in strollers across the road.  Mitigative strategies in the areas in Yarnell at the post office, the dollar store, and the community center and in Peeples Valley at the mini-mart could include: 1. traffic calming devices such as push-to-cross pedestrian crosswalks, 2. rumble strips, 3. caution striping, 4. flashing caution solar lights, 5. safety signage, and 6. a posted, enforced slower speed limit in designated areas.  We also seek to improve walkability in Yarnell including an extension of the sidewalk from the Yarnell Regional Community Center and library north to Norton Way – where there exists an RV park with side road access to many single-family homes and an extension of the sidewalk on the East side of SR 89 from the current termination near Deer Way south to the dollar store.  Finally, there exist multiple problems which may stem from the widening of SR 89 from two lanes to four lanes decades ago.  There are numerous blind spots when approaching SR 89 from the many side streets in Yarnell.  Also, the South bound lane ends just prior to the dollar store which creates a hazard as some traffic attempts to pass others who may be urning left into the store.  One solution may be to consider a “road diet” like converting the current parallel parking on at least one side of SR 89 to diagonal parking, reducing from two lane to one lane traffic each way on SR 89 through downtown Yarnell.  The lane reduction could help slow traffic speed and promote pedestrian activity.  Although safety is of chief concern, the parking reconfiguration on SR 89 in Yarnell would add more parking spaces for citizens and visitors, thereby supporting local business traffic and strengthening our local economies and communities.  Residents have expressed concerns about hazardous conditions repeatedly over the years.  In light of the tragic death of one of our community members on August 26, 2022 we urge the county to work aggressively with ADOT to develop creative and comprehensive measures to address traffic safety on State Route 89.  ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

 

VII. Additional CONCERNS FOR THE FUTURE include:  1. The need to attract young families and teachers to support and sustain our Model Creek School.  2.Expanded high speed internet to attract an increased number and wider variety of people who can work from home.  3. A provision for response during loss of cell tower service – a backup plan for 911.  4. The impact the Kirkland Mine is having on traffic, safety, and road surfaces now and once the trucks are fully operational. 5. The impact on our community’s emergency services and other resources from any proposed high-density zoning in our area (including nearby Kirkland.)